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Archive for the ‘Brewer: House Beer’ Category

Pinetree Ale

July 10th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: House Beer, Country: America, Grade: A-, Style: Amber Ale

No clue on ABV. Draught.

As mentioned before, I have somewhat of a perverted fascination with “house” beers. I rightfully expect them to be awful macro beers, co-opted by the shitty little dive bar in question and given a new name. I always order a bar’s house beer to at least give it a go, even when I would never order the actual beer that it is if I knew the truth.

Such was the case when I visited the Pinetree Lodge over the weekend, a Catskill ski lodge-themed dive seemingly run exclusively by sexy Polish and other Eastern European women and which is so far eastward in Manhattan that it is almost on Randall’s Island.

Their beer list is deplorable so of course I got a pint of the house beer, fully expecting it to blow. Surprisingly, though, it was good, damn good. A reddish, amber ale with some serious body. A nice head and very tasty.

However, I absolutely could not ID the beer that it “really” was. I’m not even sure it was an ale. It was kinda like Sam Adam Boston Ale or maybe Brooklyn Lager, but sweeter and more frothy. Kinda like Killian’s Red but, you know, actually tasteful. The closest I can compare it to is maybe a Troegs Hopback, but there’s no way they would have that as their house beer. Was I in a good mood, were my masterful tastebuds off, or was this truly a good beer? After almost a dozen more pints and a large tab I had no choice but to unequivocally call the beer good. And, it was the purest of taste tests that got me to this conclusion, one where I couldn’t rush to beeradvocate.com to confirm my thoughts vis-a-vis the masses (something I usually only do after posting my reviews).

I ain’t gonna tell you to make a special trip to Pinetree Lodge–especially cause I want the Big Buck Hunter Safari machine to be always available–but if you’re ever in the neighborhood committing a crime or sightseeing the Midtown Tunnel, step by and grab a pint to confirm whether I’m crazy or whether a house beer is truly an…


Sunday afternoon drinking at 123burgershotbeer

June 4th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Anheuser-Busch, Brewer: Goose Island, Brewer: House Beer, Country: America, Grade: B regular, Grade: B-/C+, Grade: C regular, Style: Belgian White, Style: Bock, Style: IPA

This bar sprung up seemingly overnight just down the street from me. Here’s their conceit:

That absolutely blew my mind and I refused to believe it. Nevertheless, I trekked back over for some day drinking. The interior of the bar is pretty damn classy. Almost like a furniture showroom. You can still smell the fresh lacquer on the floor. The waitresses are cute and inexplicably dressed in hot pants in which the bottom curvature of their butt-cheeks show. I remained focused as I pointed at the sign seen above and said something like, “Uh…that true?” Indeed it was. The waitress told us that the burgers were sliders—she proceeded to spend far too long explaining the concept of a slider to me like I was some alien from a non-burger-eating planet—and indeed were just a buck. Likewise, every single beer on tap was just $3. Wow. I was impressed. They had a marginally respectable tap too. Here are some of the beers I had. I was in a jovial mood so I probably overrated all of them. Plus the beers all came in absolutely frigid mugs. A sensation I love. I wouldn’t want to drink a high quality beer from a frozen mug, but shitty beers and root beer are phenomenal in them.

Shock Top Belgian White

5.2% ABV on draught

This beer has one of the oddest, eye-popping taps around: a transmogrified orange with sunglasses and a mohawk. For $3, I’ll take a whirl with this one. It came with an orange slice and while I typically hate fruit in beer I decided to just go with the flow. Glad I did. This beer tasted almost like a Sunkist soda. VERY orangey. I like Sunkist so I liked this beer. Not sure I could drink several but it was enjoyable. I was surprised when I got home to see that it’s an Anheuser-Busch beer. You’d think it would be in more bars. It’s better than most of that macro-brewery’s selections for sho’.


Goose Island IPA

5.9% ABV on draught

A nice, solid example of an IPA. Nothing more, nothing less. I could drink these all day were it actually served in more NYC bars. It has a nice little spiciness to it. And if we’re talking about taps, Goose Island has got to have the best tap in the bid’ness, a big, long goose neck coming out of the bar. Who hasn’t wanted to tug on a goose neck before?


123 Amber (house beer)

No clue on ABV. Draught.

“House” beers always amuse me. I used to be real impressed. “Wow, this crappy little bar actually makes their own beer?! That is so cool!” Quickly I learned differently, the dirty little secret that bars just make their own TAP and throw it overtop some other macro beer. I don’t know the legalities of this and I don’t really care, but alas, I’m no longer impressed. Every time you ask a bartender or waitress about the house beer they say something like, “Oh, it tastes a little bit like [beer you’ve heard of.]” The beer you’ve heard of is in fact the beer they’re trying to sell as their own. The waitress at 123 didn’t know what their house beer tasted like, but I’ll assume it’s the Michelob Amber Bock, which I think I’ve had sometime in my past. This is not a great beer and the frozen mug theory greatly improves it. No doubt making it go from tasting bad to not tasting at all. For such a dark color how can it be so lacking in taste? Odd. Since it doesn’t taste at all that already makes it superior to most macros. I wish they had put a little more effort into make this house beer taste good.


Oh, final note: if any sissy or frat boy cares, the $2 shots are the kind of silly-named shots that are like 90% mixer and 10% cheap booze. I mean really, if you’re having a shot it should be 100% liquor. I’ll expound on this at some other time. Suffice to say I only completed the 1 and 3 of the 123. The burgers were damn fine too, like upscale White Castles.